What North Carolinians should know about Hurricane Ian
Updated Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 5:30 p.m.
Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon near Cayo Costa, Florida as an "extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane," the National Hurricane Center reported.
Top sustained wind speeds remained near 155 mph by 2 p.m. Wednesday, which places the storm on the "very top end of category four," said Warning Coordination Meteorologist Nick Petro with the National Weather Service Raleigh in YouTube briefing.
Governor Roy Cooper has issued a state of emergency order ahead of Hurricane Ian's expected impact on North Carolina.
The declaration activates the state's emergency operations plan, waives transportation rules to help transport fuel and critical supplies, and cracks down on price gouging.
2pm EDT 28 Sep -- Hurricane #Ian is very near the coast of southwestern Florida Peninsula.— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 28, 2022
Maximum sustained winds remain near 155 mph with a minimum central pressure of 937 mb found by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter (@53rdWRS).
Latest: https://t.co/tnOTyg5UEw pic.twitter.com/5rhfzUltE5
Expected impact on North Carolina
There's still a lot of uncertainty about the storm's path, with quite a few unknowns about the spread and potential impact beyond Friday, the NWS Raleigh office highlights.
Emergency management officials say residents in all parts of the state should sign up for weather alerts and prepare emergency supplies.
Here are some of the predicted effects of Hurricane Ian on the state as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, according to local NWS state offices:
- Ian will possibly make another landfall across Southern S.C. on Friday.
- Expect and prepare for impacts to occur both within and outside the cone/hatched area (see graphic below).
- Impacts to Central N.C. are expected to begin on Friday.
- Impacts for Central N.C. Friday through Sunday will include heavy rain, possible flash flooding, gusty winds, and a few isolated tornadoes.
- In Eastern N.C., coastal flooding is expected along with beach erosion, and high surf (inundation of 1-3 feet along some low-lying coastal areas) from Thursday through Saturday.
- In Southeast N.C., heavy rainfall is expected which could lead to flash flooding, widespread 4 to 6 inches with some areas receiving 6 to 8 inches from Friday into Saturday morning.
- There is some potential for isolated tornadoes across Eastern N.C. Friday into Saturday.
Ian could cause localized power outages
Forecasters expect Hurricane Ian to weaken by the time it reaches North Carolina, but the storm could still cause localized power outages.
Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said Tuesday that North Carolina crews will stay here until the storm passes to evaluate the greatest areas of need. The company's drone crews are also on standby across the Southeast to help survey storm damage.
Duke Energy issued a reminder Wednesday on social media to "stay away from downed power lines" and that "if you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and dangerous."
To keep track of power outages in your area, you can sign up for text or email alerts from Duke Energy.
The forecast 'cone' doesn't predict full storm impact
As North Carolinians track the storm's progress, National Weather Service officials issued a reminder on how not to interpret hurricane forecasts.
"Please don't get consumed by the cone and whether you are in or out of the cone," said Petro. "The cone only represents where the center of the storm could go. It does not bake any information in terms of who or where you could see impacts."
Petro said that impacts of hazardous weather — like flooding and flash flooding — can occur well outside the cone.
"Eastern North Carolina, for example, is not in the cone, but you can bet sure well that Eastern North Carolina is gonna see impacts," said Petro.
WUNC's Sascha Cordner and Will Michaels contributed to this report.